Chirac pardon eases prison overcrowding

9th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 9 (AFP) - France's prison population - which hit a post-war high of 60,000 last year - declined 8.4 percent in July, largely due to an annual Bastille Day clemency granted by President Jacques Chirac, according to justice ministry figures Monday.

PARIS, Aug 9 (AFP) - France's prison population - which hit a post-war high of 60,000 last year - declined 8.4 percent in July, largely due to an annual Bastille Day clemency granted by President Jacques Chirac, according to justice ministry figures Monday.  

The country's penitentiaries now hold 58,308 inmates after the release since July 1 of convicts who had their sentences cut by up to four months under the traditional act of leniency.  

The current total is 1.5 percent lower than the 59,169 recorded for the same time last year.  

Each year, before the July 14 celebrations marking the 1789 storming of the Bastille prison that started the French Revolution, the president issues a decree cutting sentences of many prisoners, except those convicted of certain serious crimes.  

Criminals excluded this year included those serving time for terrorism, crimes against humanity, paedophilia, drug felonies, assaulting police officers or prison guards, corruption, escaping from jail, and sex crimes resulting in sentences of seven years or more.  

In a statement, the justice ministry said that the smaller number of prisoners "is explained by two phenomena: the effect of the clemency decree coming into force on July 16, and a decline in the number of (prison) entries in July."  

A factor in the lower incarceration rate was a four percent drop in crimes recorded in the first half of this year, the statement added.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

 

 

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